There is no doubt that Uzbekistan’s status as popular touring destination has much to do with its fascinating architecture from various periods, and its rich cultural heritage going back thousands of years. But visiting Uzbekistan during cultural celebrations and festivals can enhance your vacation and add even more unforgettable experiences.
The most cherished and gracious of all Uzbekistan’s national holidays is the spring festival of Navruz which falls on March 21. The holiday coincides with the day of vernal equinox - the start of spring, and traditionally honours the rebirth of nature, hence the name (Navruz means “New Day”).
From the times this spring holiday originated in 3,000 BCE, Navruz has been observed annually, in one form or another, on a wide territory in the East as a festival symbolizing re-awakening of nature, hope for bumper harvest in the fields and gardens, for love and consent in family. Traditionally the festival of masses, Navruz continues to be unimposed, non-political event to the present day.
While initially a religious festival, Navruz is now mostly secular, though it is steeped in symbolism and rich traditions. Several days before the festival, spring cleaning begins when houses are scrupulously cleaned, whereas cities and villages are tidied up and colourfully decorated enriching the atmosphere of upcoming festivities.
On March 21 the festival celebrations start with traditional games, music and drama performances, street art and colourful fairs, joyful traditional dances, various activities for children and adults, lavishly set tables with the most savory festive dishes, including a ritual meal sumalak (a wheat bran pudding) cooked exclusively for Navruz celebrations and thus available for tasting only once a year. The celebrations are also marked with lots of merry partying and social visiting, allowing music, songs, and laughter to be heard late into the night.
The popular belief says, “He who celebrates and has fun on the day of Navruz will spend his life cheerfully until the next Navruz celebration”.
So why not to join in the celebrations of the Spring Festival of Navruz, the nation's signature event?
Make it a spring to remember!
- Itinerary /
Services & Cost
Arrival in Tashkent. Meet at the International airport and transfer to the hotel. Early check-in and rest. After breakfast start of the guided sightseeing tour around Tashkent. Visit the following sites: Khast-Imam Square, Barak-Khan Madrasah, Kafal-al-Shashi Mausoleum, Kukeldash Madrasah; after lunch: Museum of Applied Arts, Independence Square, Amir Timur Square, Minor Mosque. Overnight at the hotel in Tashkent.
|Tashkent - Samarkand (morning railway transfer, 07:30-09:48).
Breakfast at the hotel. Ride to Samarkand in premium service high-speed train Afrosiab. Guided sightseeing tour in Samarkand on arrival: Gur-e Amir Mausoleum (Tamerlane’s sepulcher), Registan Square (Ulugbek Madrasah, Sher-Dor Madrasah, and Tilla-Qori Madrasah); after lunch: Bibi-Khanym Mosque, Shah-i-Zinda Necropolis. Overnight at the hotel.
Continuation of the sightseeing tour in Samarkand. Visit Ulugbek Observatory, Afrosiab museum and settlement, Saint Daniel’s tomb, Carpet factory, Silk paper workshop and Siab Oriental bazaar. Watch and participate in Navruz celebrations. Return to the hotel and overnight in Samarkand.
|Samarkand - Shakhrisabz - Boysun (road transfer, 330 km).
Breakfast at the hotel. Transfer to Shakhrisabz. Visit the following sites on arrival: Ak Saray Palace, Dorus Saodat Complex (including the Mausoleum of Jehangir), Dorut Tillavat Madrasah, Kok Gumbaz Mosque. Further transfer to the region of Boysun mountains. Accommodation at the hotel, located in the town of Boysun and overnight.
|Boysun - Bukhara (road transfer, 340 km).
After breakfast at the hotel visit Sayrob village, two ancient Plane Trees and the canyon there. Further transfer to Bukhara. Arrival late in the afternoon. Accommodation at the hotel and overnight. Optionally - watch the folklore show in Nodira Devon Begi madrassah.
Breakfast at the hotel. Start of the sightseeing program in Bukhara upon arrival. Visit of the following sites: Ismail Samani Mausoleum, Chashma Ayub Mausoleum, local bazaar, Bolo Khauz Mosque, Ark Citadel with Zindan prison, Po-i-Kalyan Complex (Kalyan Minaret and others), Miri Arab madrassa, Magoki Attori mosque and Mosque Ulugbek Madrasah. Return to the hotel. Rest and overnight.
|Bukhara - Khiva (road transfer, 440 km).
Breakfast at the hotel. Transfer across the Kyzyl-Kum Desert and along the Amudarya River to Khiva. Lunch en route. Arrival in Khiva. Leisure time. Visiting traditional workshops and souvenir shops. Overnight at the hotel.
|Khiva - Urgench (road transfer, 35 km) - Tashkent (evening flight).
Breakfast at the hotel. Guided sightseeing tour around Khiva: Ichan Kala (historical inner city), Pakhlavan Mahmud Complex, Kunya-Ark Fortress, Islam Hajji Madrasah & Minaret. After lunch: Tash Khauli Palace, Juma Mosque, Muhammad Aminkhan Minaret & Madrasah, and Avesta Museum. Transfer to Urgench (35 km, 30 min). Evening flight to Tashkent. Meet at airport, transfer to the hotel, check-in and rest.
Breakfast at the hotel. Early morning transfer to the airport. Departure.
The cost tour includes:
- Accommodation at the hotels, mentioned above or in similar, but of the same category in twin / double rooms, with breakfasts including early check-in at the hotel of Tashkent on arrival; check-in at other hotels - at 14:00; check-out - at 12:00;
- Meals - breakfasts only;
- Entrance fees to the monuments and museums, listed in the tour program;
- Services of English-speaking local guides for city tours only (from 6 persons - accompanying guide will be provided);
- Comfortable air-conditioned means of transportation throughout the tour, including “airport-hotel-airport” transfers;
- Railway transfer of Tashkent-Samarkand destination (high-speed train; ticket of economy class, seated places);
- Local flight of Urgench-Tashkent destination (ticket of economy class).
- Bottle of mineral water per day/per person.
The cost tour does not include:
- International airfares;
- Travel health insurance;
- Uzbekistan visa invitation and visa fees;
- Photo and video shooting charges at museums and monuments.
- Uzbekistan visa invitation - 45 USD per person (if necessary);
- Wine tasting in Samarkand - 15 USD/per person;
- Supplement for accompanying English speaking guide is 385 USD/per group (for groups 2-4 persons);
- Show and dinner in Nodira Divan Begi madrassah in Bukhara - 15 USD/per person.
- Supplement for meals:
- Half board (8 dinners) - 90 USD/per person/for the whole tour (optional).
- Full board (8 lunches and 8 dinners) - 170 USD/per person/for the whole tour (optional).
We choose the most conveniently located and reputable hotels for our customers to stay at. The list of the hotels we offer is below. However, due to seasonal conditions and group size this list is subject to change.
- Standard - inexpensive yet cozy private hotels, with traditional national interiors in many of them, providing all the necessary facilities for comfortable stays; notable for very warm hosting and home-like atmosphere;
- Comfort - very comfortable hotels providing excellent facilities and services; mainly located in or near city centers.
This tour comes with the following accommodation:
Visa to Uzbekistan:
Visa-free regime for up to 60 days has been established for citizens of countries below:
Visa-free regime for up to 30 days has been established for citizens of countries below:
- Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Brunei Darussalam
- Czech Republic
- The Republic of Korea
- New Zealand
- Republic of Cyprus
- San Marino
- the Vatican
- United Arab Emirates
- United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
A great number of other countries can obtain an e-visa to Uzbekistan by simply visiting the governmental portal e-visa.gov.uz.
Read more about visa to Uzbekistan here »»
Frequently Asked Questions
- Is it necessary to get a stay permit (temporary registration of stay) while visiting Uzbekistan?
Any foreigner to Uzbekistan is to get a stay permit within 3 working days (consecutive or not) during his / her visit to the country. If he / she stays at an Uzbekistan hotel or a guesthouse, such a stay permit for the period of stay at it is granted automatically. (Inquire whether the hotel / guesthouse you want to stay at provides such a permit unless your accommodation is organized by a host tour operator. Also make sure you are given your stay permit certificate with the seal of your hotel / guesthouse when you check out.) If you stay at other lodging facilities during your visit, you will have to get your stay permit from a local visits registration police department.
- What is Uzbekistan’s currency? Where can I exchange money?
The national currency of Uzbekistan is the som (UZS). There are 100, 200, 500, 1.000, 5.000, 10.000 and 50.000-som banknotes used currently. The banknotes are similar in size but vary in color; they depict Uzbekistan’s cultural and heritage sites.
You can exchange money at Uzbekistan’s National Bank outlets, most of the hotels and official currency exchange offices commonly located near bazaars and at shopping centers. You will need your passport to exchange money through them.
Note that the most common foreign currency in Uzbekistan is US dollars. The US banknotes you exchange in the country should be in good condition - without defects, bad folds, worn areas and scribbles - or it will be hard to exchange them.
- Can I use credit cards in Uzbekistan?
You can use Visa and MasterCard cards mainly in Tashkent and at fewer locations in Samarkand and Bukhara for cash withdrawals through ATMs (cash machines) in their large hotels or banks. You can also make payments with these cards at some hotels, restaurants and stores in Tashkent. However, technical failures of the card handling equipment may occur, so it is advisable to always have enough cash on you.
- What is the difference between GMT and Uzbekistan time?
It is GMT plus 5 hours in Uzbekistan.
- Can foreigners to Uzbekistan use the services of a local mobile network operator during their stays in the country?
Yes, they can if they have a stay permit to show.
- Can I bring alcoholic beverages into Uzbekistan?
A person is permitted to bring a maximum of 2 liters of alcoholic drink(s) into the country.
- What maximum amount of cash can I bring into Uzbekistan?
There is no limit on the amount of cash in a currency that is foreign to Uzbekistan a person can bring into the country. If you bring in over 5,000 USD (or the equivalent in other currencies), you will be given a ТС-28 certificate. If you bring in over 10,000 USD, you will have to pay a 1% duty on this sum.
- What maximum amount of cash can I take out of Uzbekistan?
The amount of cash (in a currency foreign to Uzbekistan) you can take out of the country must not exceed the sum you brought in as per your arrival customs declaration. Taking out the amount exceeding the sum you brought in is possible if permitted by Uzbekistan’s Central Bank or another Uzbekistan’s authorized bank. Note that taking out Uzbekistan soms is not permitted unless they are several souvenir coins or banknotes.
- Can I use a photo / video camera at the tourist sites?
Photographing and videoing at the tourist sites is allowed unless a site has a prohibition sign. They charge fees for using cameras at most tourist attractions though. Photographing and videoing is prohibited in Tashkent metro, at the airports and railway stations. Using a camera at the functioning mosques is possible if allowed by the worshippers there.
- What kind of clothes should I wear in Uzbekistan? Are there any clothing requirements for women in the country?
Clothes made of cotton and other natural textiles will be the best choice in warm and hot weather. Both men and women will feel best in T-shirts and shorts. Your footwear must be comfortable, light and strong, since you will have to walk a lot. Have sunglasses, a light headwear and sunblock lotion.
If you travel early in spring (March to the beginning of April) or at the end of autumn (October to November), it is advisable to take a windbreaker, a sweater or a similar garment. In winter the temperature may fall to minus 10°С or so, so a raincoat, a warm coat and headwear will be necessary.
There are no strict limits on women’s clothing in the country. However, you should be considerate towards the local traditions, culture and religion. While visiting religious places women should wear loose garments covering most of their arms and legs, and of course the cleavage. Headscarves will also be advisable to put on. Note that you will have to take off your shoes while entering some of the sacred places.
- What languages do people in Uzbekistan speak?
The official language is Uzbek; it is spoken by a majority of the population. Russian is spoken by the country’s largest Slavic minority and is still used widely in business and as a lingua franca, especially in Tashkent and other major cities. Tajik is widespread in Samarkand and Bukhara for their large Tajik ethnic minorities. Karakalpak is spoken in the Autonomous Republic of Karakalpakstan where it is an official language besides Uzbek. English is popular as a foreign language to study but there is little chance of coming across a good English speaker in the street. However, in the historic cities of Bukhara and Samarkand many young souvenir sellers dealing with foreigners speak elementary English.
Useful Information on Traveling to Uzbekistan
Photos of the tour:
View all photos »»
Our video gallery:
View all videos »»
© Copyright © Central Asia Travel
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without written permission of the copyright owner.
to the top »»